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         Love Is A Decision

Love Is A Decision


I read your reply to Ryan in a recent column.  His wife left him after he was left in a wheelchair.  You stated that love is not a decision…Oh, YES, it is!!!  His wife, after making a commitment to stay with him for better or for worse, chose to put her own needs in front of her husband's.  If she chose to, she'd still be there!

I moved from New York to South Carolina and was sorely disappointed in the move.  I was disappointed in my husband and who I thought he was.  I could easily decide to be miserable for the rest of my life, or I could decide to make a happy life here.  I make a decision every day how to respond to my husband.  In those decisions the well of love is fed.

Feelings are not a choice, but love is!  Real love, unconditional love, is not feelings-driven.  The divorce rate is as high as it is because people go by their feelings instead of decisions to be unselfish.  Real love and commitment are decision-driven.


Gretchen, we looked in two dozen dictionaries.  What we did not find in any dictionary is that love is a decision.  Instead, each dictionary defines love as an emotion which includes intense feelings of deep affection.  Each dictionary contrasts love, an emotion, with reason and decision.

When you say love is a decision, you set yourself up for failure.  When you deny that love is one of the true emotions, you relegate it to being unreal.  People who say love is a decision steal from those with a genuine love for mankind, a genuine love for their children, or a genuine love for their partner. 

Why do some people claim love is a decision?  Because of the word "marriage."  In an attempt to save that institution they deny the reality of love.  They can't package or sell love so they are trying to make love no longer an emotion.  But this newfangled doctrine isn't saving marriage.  It's destroying it. 

Most decisions are made for personal gain.  But the firefighter running into a burning building isn't doing it to save his paycheck, but to save a fellow human being.  We give firefighters medals because they are moved by a higher emotion.  That is what love is: the higher emotion which connects two people.

The divorce rate is as high as it is because people get into marriages for reasons.  They make decisions.  All my friends are getting married.  He makes good money.  I want to get out of my parents' house.  But decisions are based on criteria, factors, and strategies--all of which may change. 

Some people have a belief in a higher power.  They say God is love.  Do you want to say that God's love is merely a decision?  Where is the comfort in that?  Where is the truth in that?  Mothers love their children.  Would you reduce that to mothers decide to love their children? 

Because of the factors in your own life, you've chosen to alter the definition of love.  But when you relegate love to the lowly realm of decision, you destroy its essence. 

I wake up every day knowing I love my wife.  It's not a decision.  It's a fact.

(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)



I've been looking for so long to find someone to secretly talk to, to gain some insight, validation, or hope.  My situation is the result of the choices I made, but I just need someone to hear me.

I have been married eight years.  During the short time we dated I knew he wasn't the true person I thought I'd spend my life with.  The day I was going to tell him I didn't want to see him anymore was the day I learned I was pregnant.  It was not intentional.  While switching birth control pills, and continually being on them, I didn't use a backup method.

I was not raised to have a child out of wedlock, so I did what I thought was right.  He wanted to marry me.  I thought it was the right thing to do despite our start, but not surprisingly we had problems.

The first three or four years were horrible, with small pockets of being so-so.  He treated my daughter from a previous marriage with disdain, which hurts a child who tries to be loving.  He's controlling and broken our vows.  I know he had an affair because I found evidence and confronted him.  He doesn't respect me enough to be honest.

A few years ago after failed attempts at counseling, I left him.  When people found out, he acted like he was the victim.  I was furious because he knew the reasons but led others to believe I abandoned him.  I returned, but I am emotionally drained, hardened, angry and bitter.

I tried to make it work.  Now after all the headache and heartache, I can barely tolerate spending time with him.  When he says a line he used to give me while stepping out on me, I flip my lid.  It's like a trigger.

Now he says he doesn't want to lose his family.  He wants me to say I love him, but I can't because I don't.  Should I lie and say it anyway just to make him feel better?  I've built up this façade so people don't know how miserable I am.

I'm a professional, driven person and this has minimized me to nothing.  I've lost my motivation for things I enjoy because I see no hope for the future.  How can you build on feelings that were not there in the first place?


Peggy, going back was a mistake.  It doesn't matter what other people think, especially when what they think makes you live a lie, because then there is no truth anywhere.  They don't see the truth, you aren't living the truth, so it is lies all around.

Some people say love is a decision, but you tried that and blatantly failed.  Love is not a decision, and you knew he wasn't the right one in the first place.  Without love the relationship has been a disaster on both sides.  All you had in common was sex and the child the two of you created.

People think an impostor can stand in the stead of love, but it can't.  That is trying to trick yourself out of the real thing.  Once you have been around false love for awhile you begin thinking what it would be like to have the real thing.

At what point would some people tell our children that false, made-up, worked-on feelings can replace love?  Forget Shakespeare and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  Children can't be allowed to see this poetry because it will touch their hearts.  You don't want children to grow up thinking there is real emotion, if you are going to teach the false.

So where are you now, Peggy?  You are right back where you were in the beginning.  It  is time to tell this man you have taken the long way around to return to what you always knew was the right decision.

Wayne & Tamara
(The best of relationship advice from Direct Answers.)

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